Tuesday, April 04, 2006

little miracles sustain me

When it has been raining for weeks, and the daily news is full of drama and pain, and my heart sinks within me I try to look for the small brightnesses.
To call them miracles might be stretching the truth a bit, but I suspect that miracles, like saints, come in strange disguises, without trumpets and banners.

Sara, my most faithful woman in black companion, was back from her journeys last Friday and came to stand, despite her sniffles (airplane air). She brought me a root of flowering ginger from Hawaii, duly stamped as cleared by all the plant inspectors. Although it had been raining all day, the skies cleared for just an hour, from 5 to 6.

See, said Sara, miracles!

And while we stood, a distraught woman, her mascara running down her overly made up cheeks, her brittle blonde hair standing ruffled and messed, passed us calling for her dog.
I told Sara the woman's story. She'd come by my bookstore a week ago with a sign to post in my window: LOST DOG! Her eight year old dog, Red Dog, had run from her van. She'd just moved here from Oregon, where she and the dog had lived a quiet and very secluded life since the dog was a tiny puppy. Red Dog was wearing a chain collar. I promised to keep an eye out for the dog, figuring perhaps my dog companions might find him, but in the week that had passed we hadn't seen him. The dog, said his woman, was very shy.

Twenty minutes later the beaming woman and her prancing, smiling, joyful dog walked back past us. The earnest Women in Black cheered and applauded.

Miracles, said Sara.

That evening, late, I was whisking up some avocados to make some guacamole, my youngest son's favorite snack (it's ripe avocado, lemon juice, salt--and sometimes onion, cilantro, peppers, tomato). I had the avocado and some spring onions and a bunch of fresh cilantro--but no lemon. Ah well, I thought.

A knock at the closed door. Sawyer, a young activist who wanders by at strange moments, stood there with a basket of fresh lemons. He's been working as a tree pruner this season. We invited him in for conversation and tea and snacks. He left us with lemons and a handful of blueberry prunings and a box of old crystal chandelier pieces he called rainbow makers. "Give them to people who need some miracles in their lives" he said. Okay. Will do that. Meanwhile they dangle from my little fig tree in the window, breaking the light into flashes of beauty.

And today's early visitor--well, it may not have fallen under miracles, but knowing the bureaucracy as I do, I think it does.

He came in so upset he couldn't speak coherently. Please, sit down a while, I said, and waited. Seemed he'd been arrested for sleeping on a church porch four days ago. His truck was impounded, and he couldn't afford to get it out of the impound. All his possessions were in it. But that didn't matter, he said--he can always get stuff, more stuff, it's worth nothing. What had him close to tears was that the cops took his dog. The dog, whose name is Elvis, was placed in custody at the animal shelter 2 hours from my town. The guy had been told he'd need money to spring his canine companion, and had hitched up there yesterday, arriving after the shelter closed, able to peer through and see the dog in his cage.

How long before Elvis was killed? What if he couldn't get the money? What could he do?

I called the sheriff's office and got the phone number of the shelter, and then called them. I explained the situation to the woman on the other end of the line. Yep, they had Elvis. The cost of freeing him would be 116 dollars today, an amount that would increase by 14 dollars for each day held. If not freed by Friday....well, the woman said she wouldn't lie to me; they did kill dogs. But maybe, if I did some special pleading with the head honcho at the shelter, they'd test Elvis for suitability for adoption and find him a nice family.

Elvis's friend was listening in and going quietly nuts. "He has a family!" he shouted. "Can you hold on a moment?" I asked the nice shelter woman, and told Elvis's guy I'd see what could be done.

Besides the money, what was needed to spring the pup? The woman explained that the owner would need to present a photo identification, and asked for a phone number and an address. I told her to use my phone as a message phone, and confirmed that Elvis's person was..."traveling". She gave me the shelter hours; I thanked her for her help, and said goodbye.

In talking with Elvis's person another hurdle quickly presented itself: he has no ID. No identification whatsoever. He's from out of state, and lost his ID some months ago, and has had nowhere to have anything sent. I told him he could use my address to have his dad send his birth certificate, but it would take 6 weeks to get state identification processed...and meanwhile, poor Elvis would be either dead or with someone else.

So I called the shelter once again, and presented the situation. As we struggled with the rules, the guy said "well, I do have my court papers".

The head of the shelter said, sure, that will do.

I lent the guy the money to free his dog, and told him to pay me back as he is able. I don't exactly expect I will get all the money back, or even any of it, but my dogs believe it is a worthy cause. I met Elvis and his person together weeks ago, and noted how happy they were, and how well cared for the dog was. And I'm gonna count that reunion too in the miracle list. My dogs approve.


Anonymous marlyat2 said...


Far be it from me to argue with what a pit bull thinks is proper charity!

I like your tiny miracles... Interesting gifts on your doorstep. Those evocative things seem like a continuation of your "jars" from "jarvenpa's notebooks."

5:42 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Kimia said...

The last one was definitely a miracle. Maybe a little miracle for you but a big big one for Elvis's person :D

Jarvenpa, since I have started reading your blog, I made a list of the new words I see in your sentences. It is getting long now. You know I think it is very helpful because I see the word with its usage :) in a few years I'll write like you ;)

3:42 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger joy said...

What a wonderful story, jarvenpa. You have reminded me of much I have known and just how much I have forgotten. Thank you.


10:28 AM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

Thanks marly--I am often guided by my pitbull's fine sensibility.
Kimia--I'm glad to be providing vocabulary for you. You write very well already, however. And I am always humbled by people who have blogs in English while their mother language is something else--no way could I do that.
and thanks, frenchindian..

I saw Elvis and his person yesterday, both very, very happy.

4:33 PM, April 09, 2006  
Blogger David said...

Jarvenpa, you are a very kind and generous person!

10:42 PM, April 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a beautiful and active mind .. I congratulate you.

Thanks for visiting mindinside .. it is nice to meet you
.. a miracle :)

3:33 AM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger Dr O2 said...

well I am a non-believer of super powers, miracles & stuff like this but seemingly I gotta be revising. U actually acted as an angel for the dog & the owner as well. Don know how may people would do such thing for one another these days.

btw sorry I have lost some regularity but am getting less freetime & have become more of a reader in the blogworld rather than a comment-writer.

Today I made up for lost posts & took some nice phrases & wrote them down :-)

8:44 AM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger jac said...

A lovely post !

And you, as far I can guess, is a very very understanding person.

I do agree that the miracle was induced by you.

10:19 AM, April 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I add you to my favorite list?

7:42 PM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

thank you all--yes, of course, I'd be honored to be added to your favorites list, mindinside.
dr o2--don't worry about leaving comments or not (though I am delighted when you do, and always check your blog)
and david--come on, we are waiting for your updates, now that the daffodils are pushing up even in your area--right? (they are, aren't they?)
jac--thanks for your generous comment..

8:51 PM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger jac said...

I too love the month of April as it brings in many memories to me.

I didn't know that this is called a month of poetries too. As one who loves poetries, this is real enjoyable news to me.
But after reading your post I felt enraged and sad. Humanity turned into extreme cruelty.

I am happy that there are people like you who still guard the feeble flame called humanity and hands of tenderness to wipe of tears from the downtrodden.

Thank you for keeping the flame burning and thank you again for treating them as your children. We need more people like you in this world.
I will be back to read more from your archives.

4:04 AM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger David said...

I took some daffodil pictures a few days ago. Perhaps I will post one soon. :) I have to figure out how to connect my new digital cam to my computer! I know, not much of an excuse. ;)

10:32 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous marly said...

Are you washing away, over there in soggy, soggy California?

12:04 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger a dracul said...

I cant figure you out at all. You have all the markings of a saint but you don't seem to turn those around you into martyrs. But I'll be back to read some more. Checked out bagdhad gel while passing too, you have some gentle friends, so i'll be back, they always end up with clay feet, but like i say can't figure you out. so ill come back and visit

5:42 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Rhianne said...

Hello! I was wondering, when are you going to email more comments? I've stopped working on Stacy's Garden but still, I might convince myself to start again. Please email me or drop a message on one of my many blogs!!!!!

8:26 AM, April 20, 2006  

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